asylum seeker fraud in the UK
Lack of strategy within the asylum system leaves taxpayers at a loss
When you picture an asylum seeker, what do you see?
A woman or man, maybe even a child, escaping the horrors of war and prejudice – looking for a better life here in the UK.
A grim study by John Vine, the chief inspector of Border and Immigrations reveals that this picture may not always be the case.
While there are real asylum seekers, who want only refuge in a safe country, there are also those who abuse this system of security, working illegally and amassing tens of thousands of pounds of income through fraudulent claims that ultimately pull cash from taxpayer pockets.
Vine criticised the asylum agencies, citing that there was “no strategy” in the system, which is jaded with “no consistence” and “unsuitable training”.
Meanwhile, taxpayers are still cutting costs and surviving under the boot of what has been a deep, long recession.
One unnamed asylum seeker was found to have stolen £18,000 from benefits, with a further £74,000 from illegal work and other claims.
He received a 12 month suspended sentence and is currently still receiving benefits.
The average income for a legal citizen in the UK is £26,500.
The asylum system in the UK as a whole costs 155,000,000 as of 2013-14
Imagine a man who arrives at a house during a cold winter. He is let in, granted food and warmth. He then proceeds to steal from the purses of the house owner.
This is the situation, on a national scale.
Perhaps the time has come to tighten screening regulations around asylum seekers, but conversely, this may result in some genuine
candidates being screened out, which would be a genuine humanitarian failure in our part.
Basic compassionate decisions toward other people are coming under criticism from both the public and the government as they
discover the extent of the damage that the broken asylum system is costing the country.
But therein lies the question that this situation boils down to…
What can we do?
Predicting crime while dealing with hugely compassionate situations such as asylum is difficult.
With violent civil wars raging across the planet, millions upon millions of people have been displaced from their native country due to life threatening situations that we have no experience with, as a stable nation.
Making the snap decision whether to take these refugees in is both a moral and political nightmare that undoubtedly would collect shrapnel from different sectors of the public, no matter what state of effectiveness it was in.
Should we assimilate the two fractured asylum agencies and attempt to increase efficiency with better training and more specialised staff? Create a unified system with a complete database that leaves no room for error and tracks potential fraudsters?
Is that more easily said than done? Yes!
However, there are thousands more genuine refugees that require real compassion in a time of global insecurity, providing well for them should take priority over finding the criminals who abuse this. It is our duty as a country to help those who cannot claim safety in their own.